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Number 96: Revolutionary Aussie Adult 70s Soap Comes to DVD!


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Number 96 is a soap that I long have been fascinated by--an institution in Australia in the 70s that led to movies, it was one of the first shows to mix classic soap opera with more blatant sex, nudity, homosexuality and comedy. Australia went to Color quite late and sadly most of the B&W eps of the show are gone now--still I have an aussie friend who promised to import this set for me and I'm REALLY excited to watch it. Did it ever air outside of Aussie?


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In 1980 a short-lived US remake of the same name on NBC retained the comedy but toned-down the sexual elements of the series. The series was launched over three consecutive nights. US television and TV Guide promotions for the series utilized advertising hyperbole, suggesting that the series had been "banned in Australia". The nudity and racy content of the original series was not present in the remake; it would likely not have been allowed in the US due to censorship standards there, so the US version only hinted at the sexual content that had been on display in the original. The US version of Number 96 was quickly canceled due to low ratings; the US show was finally aired in parts of Australia in 1986.

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I was fascinated by this show too. Australia has this litany of culturally explosive soaps (Number 96, E Street, Sons and Daughters, Prisoner) that were HUGE at the time and then audiences turned their backs after a few years. It's only in the past two decades that soaps have displayed some longevity there due largely to international popularity.

Not sure the show ever aired in the UK but I bought the original DVD last year sometime. It basically consists of two docos that give an overview of the entire history of the show with clips and interviews. It also has a copy of the Number 96 movie that was released early on in the show's run. Total exploitative trash. :lol:

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Yeah apparantly the movie's not really a good indication of the strengths of the show--I've been assured lol. I'd love to see those docus--I wonder if they've been put online anywhere.

Number 96 did pretty well all things considered--it had a healthy run--but you're right it wasn't till Neighbours (and largely it's UK success) that Australia really had a soap institution. Prisoner also had a healthy run and I thought ended partly on tis own terms--not ratings.

My Austrlian friend who's a soap addict is where I get much of my info and he could be wrong--but E Street, a fave of his, is a special case. It was an issue based soap (the producers called it an urban take on A Country PRactice!) that he freely admits was relaly not very good at first at all--then it had the infamous Mr Bad, vaguely supernatural serial killer storyline which was completley out of character with the tone of the show but was a huge success (I've seen some of the clips on youtube--they're pretty ridiculous yet fascinating) . That spike the show and they tried to do similar stunts but never rally managed to have success like that... It was just a short term thing and flop gangster and werewolf stories didn't capture audiences back

Chances was similar in that it was a low budget, not very good, traditional soap, that then went the Night and Day route. "Attempts to boost the ratings saw an increase in sex and nudity, while storylines became increasingly bizarre and fantasy-oriented, with new stories involving ghosts, an angel on a Harley Davidson motorcycle, Oriental villains, an Egyptian Sun Goddess, man-eating plants, and neo-Nazis hunting valuable Third Reich artifacts. These changes provoked much discussion and comment within the press and the public; however, they did not lead to a strong increase in ratings.

Eventually, low ratings saw the show moved to a late-night slot, and the production rate reduced from two to one episode a week." Chances though has been a continuous hit in Russia! GO figure...

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I remember watching parts of this show even though I wasn't allowed to due to my age.

I remember being scared in regards to the panyhose strangler and I didn't get her right to start of with, but I was right with Mr Bad.

The other storyline that stands out in my mind was the bomb that was in the Deli and you had several different screens one showing the clock and others showing different appartment's the Deli and the bar and was it Alfo running and banging on each of the doors.

Just on a little side note Toni Peron who was on E Street is on this current season of DWTS here in Australia.

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